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Full text of "The History Of Western Education"

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This is unfortunate, for it leaves us without tiny information
about Aristotle's opinions on the most interesting problem in
later Greek education—the intellectual education in young
manhood. Plato, it will be remembered, trained the young
1' guardians " in the mathematical sciences and led them to a
knowledge of the supreme good by means of dialectic. It is not
improbable that Aristotle had a rather different scheme, His own
interest was not in mathematics, but in biology and history, and
from the fact that most of the great mathematicians of later days
were attached in some way to the school of Plato, while those who
investigated natural history or history proper were Aristotelians,
we may infer that the latter subjects figured largely in the disci-
pline he prescribed for this period. The concluding part of the
course, however, was probably much the same as Plato's, lie also
would lead the youth into metaphysics to turn their thoughts to
the one divine cause of the universe.

So far we have been dealing with Aristotle's view of education
as development. We pass to the complementary view of education
as an art with an end beyond itself. For Aristotle, we have seen,
education involves a training of the body, of the character, and
of the intellect. What purpose is served by these trainings ?
The training of the body, as already noted, is for the sake of the
soul. By proper discipline it is fitted to do the work the soul
requires of it. But what of the soul itself ? The answer depends
on whether we are thinking of the rational or the irrational part
of the soul. Since the soul has a double nature, education must
have a twofold end.

In the first place, it has the immediate practical end of ensuring
the well-being of the State by producing good citizens. Accord-
ing to Aristotle, the happiness of man depends on the activity
of his soul in accordance with the form of virtue or excellence
proper to it. And since the distinctive excellence of man, the
excellence which marks him oflf from the animals which have
passions like his, is that achieved in his social relations, it is
obvious that both for his own happiness and for the happiness
of the State, education must fit him for the practical duties of
citizenship. It is for this reason that he must learn to curb the
passions and become temperate, brave, magnanimous, just,
There is no place for passions unrestrained by reason in the life
of the good citizen.